10 Best of the Mediterranean Islands

May 20, 2024

best of the mediterranean

Bordered by numerous countries from Asia, Africa, and Europe, the Mediterranean Sea has the massive fortune to be home to thousands of idyllic islands. Sun-kissed turquoise beaches, smoldering volcanoes, archaeological sites, and arguably the world’s most delicious (and healthy!) are features of the best of the Mediterranean islands.

Each island has played a part in the intriguing history and culture of the region; Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Moors, Venetians, and the Ottomans have left layers of history to discover.

INSIDER TIP: Click here for the ONLY beach packing list you’ll ever need!

10 Korcula

korcula from dubrovnik

Korčula Island also known as the Emerald Isle, is one of Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands, located in the azure Adriatic Sea. It’s one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Croatia and the likely birthplace of the famous explorer, Marco Polo.

Best known for its picturesque walled Old Town, culture, history, beauty, and charm, it has been called a “mini Dubrovnik” in that the two cities are somewhat similar.

Click here to read Best Things to Do in Korcula Town.

9 Paros


The Greek island of Paros in the Aegean Sea is a popular destination welcoming thousands of tourists every summer into its cosmopolitan and lively villages.

Gorgeous mountain landscapes, lush valleys, and rolling hills, picturesque

whitewashed villages dotted with blue-domed windmills, small churches and monasteries, and shimmering turquoise beaches epitomize everything symbolic of the Greek Islands.

Easily reached from Mykonos, Naxos, Ios, and other islands, Paros has everything you could want for a perfect Greek vacation… from seafood to sunsets, and stunning beaches to traditional villages, there are a ton of opportunities to make lasting memories.

Click here to read 10 Reasons to Visit Paros.

Click here to read Cyclades Island Hopping.

8 Malta

malta hidden gems

The Mediterranean island of Malta boasts pristine beaches, historic cities, and a rich cultural heritage. While hotspots like Valletta and Gozo are packed with tourists, Malta has many hidden gems waiting to be explored.

Get off the beaten path to uncover ancient temples, secluded coves, and local hangouts. This travel guide will help you experience the real Malta.

Click here to read Malta’s Hidden Gems.

7 Corfu


It’s no secret that the Greek Islands rank high on the list of “must-do” destinations. But which one to choose? Each island has its own magnetic charm, but I submit that the Corfu beaches and activities make it difficult for anyone to resist the Greek island’s pull.

Corfu Island is the second-largest island in the Ionian Sea, with a rich history dating back to Greek mythological figures such as Poseidon and Asopos. A land of castles, forts, and beaches, there’s plenty to keep tourists busy.

Click here to read Exploring Corfu Beaches and Beyond.

6 Hvar

things to do in hvar

Have you heard of Hvar Island? While it may not be familiar to Americans, it certainly is well-known to Europeans. Sun-drenched beaches, cobblestone lanes, ancient hilltop fortresses, and glamourous nightclubs have allegedly attracted celebrities such as Prince Harry, Beyoncé, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Tom Cruise. Sometimes called the “St. Tropez of the Adriatic,” and consistently listed in the top 10 islands by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, there are things to do in Hvar to please just about everyone!

It’s no wonder that Hvar is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations. The idyllic Adriatic island has a 6,000-year-old history, a combination of relaxing and partying vibe, and impressive Venetian architecture. And of course, there are a lot of crystal-clear blue beaches on Hvar.

Just 25 miles from Split, it’s an easy one-to-two-hour ferry ride for visitors who want to do a day trip. There’s also no airport on Hvar, making ferries, yachts, motorboats, catamarans, and cruises the only way to get there.

Click here to read Best Things to Do in Hvar – Croatia’s Most Exciting Island.

5 Mykonos

things to do mykonos

Second only to Santorini in popularity, Mykonos is famous in its own right. Sitting on the brilliant turquoise Aegean Sea, the small island is part of the Cyclades archipelago. It’s popularly known for its summer party atmosphere and has iconic landmarks including a row of 16th-century windmills that overlook Little Venice.

While Mykonos is known as one of the best party islands in Greece, the island isn’t just for nightlife-seeking millennials; there’s something for everyone on the stunning island. Idyllic whitewashed blue-roofed homes with colorful doors. The villages across this Cycladic Island offer a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways, which were constructed as a way to confuse pirates.

Click here to read Best Things to Do in Mykonos.

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4 Santorini

best of the mediterranean

It’s one of the most Instagrammed bucket list places on the planet, but is Santorini worth the hype? Postcard-perfect, white-washed stucco structures adorned with blue domes and fuchsia bougainvillea overlook the Aegean Sea; brilliant blue surf laps onto red and black sand beaches; ancient ruins long-buried under volcanic ash; we discovered these treasures and much more on this enchanting island.

Once one round-shaped island, Santorini is now two islands. Around 1,500 B.C. the island suffered one of the biggest and violent volcanic explosions in the history of the world, causing the center of the island to sink. The eruption wiped out the Minoan civilization, and it became the source of the mythical lost city of Atlantis.

Click here to read 6 Things to Do on a Santorini Cruise Excursion.

3 Crete

white sand beaches in Europe

Largest of the Greek Islands and birthplace of mythological Zeus, Crete’s stunning turquoise beaches, dramatic mountain gorges, charming harbor towns, and ancient archaeological sites make it the perfect destination for a diverse holiday. There is no better way to explore the treasure trove of fascinating attractions than via a Crete road trip.

Compared to other beautiful Greek islands like Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Koufonesia, Ios, and Naxos, Crete is huge and takes longer to explore.

Click here to read 10 Cool Outdoor Experiences in Crete.

2 Sicily

best of the mediterranean

Sicily is the largest Mediterranean island, located just off the “toe” of Italy’s “boot.” magnificent beaches, charming villages, and rugged coastlines. Its rich and eclectic history includes ancient ruins and archeological sites like the Valley of the Temples, the Doric-style Greek temples, and the Byzantine mosaics at the Cappella Palatina, in Palermo. On Sicily’s eastern edge is Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes.

Click here to read

1 Corsica

best of the mediterranean

Nicknamed the “Isle of Beauty,” Corsica postcard-perfect landscapes include diverse beauty in its pristine bays and beaches, lush forests, verdant valleys, and craggy cliffs, along with charming coastal towns. It was the birthplace of the legendary Napoleon Bonaparte and has been part of France since 1768, yet still retains a distinct Italian culture.

Vacationers are spoiled for things to do, from hiking to water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and boating, exploring the island’s fascinating history, and indulging in its superb cuisine.

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About the Author

Patti MorrowPatti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and the southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of the “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the next few months.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.

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